The Little Lives of the Pocketverse Sam Hill book review
book review

Book Review: The Little Lives of the Pocketverse

THE LITTLE LIVES OF THE POCKETVERSE by Sam Hill is a crazy experiment of creation. Check out what Audrey Davis has to say in her book review of this indie speculative novel.

The Little Lives of the Pocketverse

by Sam Hill

Genre: Sci-Fi & Fantasy

Print Length: 446 pages

Reviewed by Audrey Davis

A crazy experiment of creation

With a device that can create simultaneous tiny universes, the possibilities are endless…or are they? 

After successfully creating a device to prevent the apocalypse, Jeh and his team of Designers have suggested to the government a way to repurpose this machine: public entertainment. 

The wild escapades (and unfortunate consequences) of the Designers and the inhabitants of the Pocketverse device send readers across all different eras and genres—pirates, spacemen, knights, zombies, and more—all while bouncing in and out of reality, learning about the brave yet bizarre multiverse creator, Jeh, and dealing with their corporate-appointed “babysitter,” Lucy. 

“In our reality there are a number of creatures, cryptids, and mythical beings which certain people will insist exist despite any evidence to the contrary. Some will try to convince you they have seen these creatures first hand, that they have spoken to these beings, or even physically interacted with them. People will have vanished, or lost time in inexplicable ways. All these are a direct result of the design process.”

Sam Hill delivers a fascinating and unique tale—an immersive multiverse for readers to slip into and be entertained by. Time does not work the same in the Pocketverse device, so many characters are born and sometimes gruesomely die within a short span of time, each never really knowing what direction they’re headed—just along for the ride. The Designers must discover what works best for their tiny worlds, learning in real time that some things should definitely be left to the imagination, through amusing, substance-fueled trial and error. 

In this same respect, the reader never really knows what they’re going to find on the next page and is effectively along for a vivid yet intense ride. An omniscient narrator regales listeners with these mini-lives in an intimately familiar and conversational tone, peppered with dry and sarcastic humor. Social commentary and thought-provoking ethics questions are meticulously sprinkled into the mix of madness.

“Jeh, in his most bossly manner, declared coffee all round and put the big jug on. Then, when their attention was elsewhere, he quickly spiked it […]. This was not accidental, Jeh knew exactly what was going to happen.”

Like two sides of the same coin however, at times the narrator’s interjections slow the story down, and readers are not given the time to imagine what might happen since the narrator is quick to interrupt with a snarky parenthetical answer. 

This novel offers very intriguing concepts, but the story can sometimes feel cluttered. Worldbuilding is essential for a good speculative novel, but this story might give readers a little more than they know what to do with. 

Scenes of the “present” and from the Pocketverse are intertwined throughout, although the novel focuses more heavily on the zany adventures inside the machine. These scenes are fun and chaotic, and there are many delightful moments of creation, re-creation, and self-realization. Nevertheless, coupled with the repeated use of slang such as “nomming,” and “wibbly bits,” some scenes feel a little drawn-out and don’t always feel plot-relevant, at times overshadowing the main plotline: the Designers’ reality outside the box.

Still, this novel’s inventive postulations and creativity-minded characters carry it far, and those looking for a fast-paced, speculative whirlwind will enjoy leaving our own reality behind to make friends with pirates or maybe even the Yeti. 

“Clive looked across the room, eyes like a dog that knows that you know he ate the cake that had been left on the table. A little thumbs up from Lucy, and a smile. He turned back to the team to start his coding. They were not dead yet.”

Thank you for reading Audrey Davis’s book review of The Little Lives of the Pocketverse by Sam Hill! If you liked what you read, please spend some more time with us at the links below.

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